This bread pudding is the ultimate decadence. It is a Pakistani dessert made with cream, saffron, cardamom, sugar, edible silver leaf (if you can find it)-all things royal. I added some pumpkin, cloves, and cinnamon, which are not traditional, but they take would take this dish to another level and make it more suitable for Thanksgiving. If the turkey on Thanksgiving doesn't transport you into a heavenly food coma this bread pudding most certainly will! —fortheloveofyum
half and half
canned pure pumpkin puree
plus 2 tablespoons sugar
a nice pinch of
canola oil or clarified butter, for frying (you might need slightly more oil/clarified butter, but I try to use as little as possible)
1 loaf (8-10 slices)
day-old country-style white bread, crusts removed (optional) and cut into 2 pieces on the diagonal
edible silver leaf, for garnish (optional)
toasted and chopped mixed nuts-pistachios and almonds with skin, for garnish
In a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat, bring the milk, half and half, cardamom powder, 2 cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and pumpkin to a simmer. Mix the ingredients every minute or so.
Once the milk/cream mixture comes to a simmer turn the heat to low and let the mixture thicken to the consistency of a loose pudding/custard. Keep stirring every few minutes so that the cream does not burn. This should take 35-45 minutes. Once the milk/cream mixture is done, remove the cinnamon stick, cloves, and cardamom pods.
While the milk/cream mixture is simmering, make the sugar syrup by combining the remaining sugar, water, saffron threads, and 3 cardamom pods in a small saucepan on medium-low heat. The syrup will be done once the sugar and water have dissolved into a uniform liquid after about 10 minutes. Leave the sugar syrup on low heat until the milk/cream mixture is done.
At this point preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and butter an 8"x8" inch baking dish.
Once the cream mixture and sugar syrup are done, start frying the bread triangles in a fry pan on medium heat with the oil or clarified butter until all the pieces are golden brown on both sides. Lay the bread on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
Once all the bread pieces are fried, dip each bread piece into the sugar syrup then into the milk/cream mixture so that the bread is coated well and then arrange the bread into the baking dish. I like to arrange the bread on the diagonal. Repeat this until you have used up all the fried bread.
Next, take any remaining milk/cream mixture and pour it over the bread slices in the pan and use a rubber spatula to make the top smooth.
Bake the bread slices in the oven for 15 minutes or until the top just starts to slightly turn golden.
Remove from the oven and garnish with the chopped nuts and silver leaf, if you are using it.
Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon, if you like. I like to eat it right from the oven but it can also be eaten at room temperature or even chilled.
*This can be made a day in advance and baked the day of serving.